After what feels like an eternity, the Big Boys are back, well almost. The official testing for MotoGP 2015 season began back in the end of the 2014 season, but the first test of the year will begin at Sepang on Feb. 4th 2015. However, when we have a legend as big as the Australian Casey Stoner himself, test riding the 2015 Honda RC213V in a private test at Sepang before the official tests begun, it is safe to say that the 2015 MotoGP is on now.
Normally, test teams test in secret however with such a high profile tst rider at HRC the media had its eyes locked in for as much as news as they could gather from the test. Casey Stoner spent a couple of days on the 2015 Honda RC213V, and he made a couple of posts on his Instagram and Twitter accounts gave a few clues about the test. The Malaysian weather cooperated most of the time, though rain on Thursday meant that Stoner could no do the laps he wanted. Friday was a better day, with a lot of work done.
Casey had posted a photo on his Instagram which showed that he being assisted by Cristian Gabarrini, his former crew chief, and now crew chief to Jack Miller at LCR. Also present at Sepang was Andrea Zugna, the brains behind Honda’s extremely advanced electronics package. Though this may be the last year in which the factories are completely free to develop their own electronics, the software in the system remains a crucial part of the racing package, and development continues apace.
Yamaha, too, were present, though with their far less famous test riders. Yamaha have also so far failed to issue a press release, though from comments made by Kouichi Tsuji at the launch of the Movistar Yamaha team earlier this week, we can make educated guesses at some of the things being tested. Tsuji hinted that Yamaha’s fully seamless gearbox was to be tested this week, ahead of being trialed by Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo at the second Sepang test at the end of February. There is a chance that Yamaha’s test riders will continue testing the gearbox during the first official test next week.
The engineers also took advantage of having Stoner in Sepang to run a few laps on the Suzuka 8 Hour Honda CBR1000RR in the afternoon on the final day.
"Overall it’s been a good test, very positive and we got a lot done! On the first day we worked on the base setup and tested some small things before the rain arrived and we had to stop. Then on day two I spent a lot of time doing a back-to-back chassis comparison from last year’s bike to this year’s and I also tested different variations of the chassis. Brembo brought some new aluminium callipers for us to try and Honda had several other test items which we managed to get through before the rain came once again."
"On the final day we confirmed some feelings from yesterday and tried a few electronic packages as well as some different suspension. Riding the CBR was very different, I’ve never really ridden that kind of bike, the shifting, riding position, engine power, weight characteristic etc was quite difficult and took some getting used to. After a few exits I had more of an understanding and was able to give some feedback. In general it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed being able to feel the rear of the bike step out!"